Things I've Learned About Self Sustainable Living (Part1)

Like I said we're still kinda new at this and we're nowhere near where we want to be yet.. But I have learned a few things about growing our own food. Which was priority #1. We wanted to eat real natural foods, not hormones or pesticides. No matter what the label says, you'll never know for sure. Also the health and treatment of the animal since seeing so many slaughter houses outed on the news.
I read and researched all of what I would need for my family. So I decided on goats for milk and meat sooooo good and better for you than just about anything out there. Not to mention the yummy cheese. Pigs for meat, very yum yum homemade sausage ahhh. Of course chickens, my favorite, eggs and meat.
The rest of our animals are for pleasure not eats. Not to say all chickens, pigs, or goats are to eat. We do have "pets" who are life long buddies. It's important when you have kids they understand it's food, not friends. But occasionally a few steal your heart and you just can't help but name them.
We have made some costly mistakes, (I would put a number to that but Hubby reads these, some things are better left not knowing ) but we learned and adjusted. So here is what I've learned and maybe can save you a few...
Animals- Decide what you want then read up on the different breeds. Each has pros and cons only you'd know which would fit your agenda. Example: I chose Yorkshire pigs because they're mothering breed, large, and have large litters. Lots of food for a family plus allows some feeders to be sold to compensate. Also do well in AZ, if they have plenty of mud! I chose Nubian goats for their butterfat and beauty. Such cuties!!
Be careful where you buy your animal from too. Go see their housing, are the animals healthy, is it clean, download a checklist of what to notice. Don't assume the owners being 100% honest just because you are. Sick animals are costly!
Environment- Know your area! Find out whats in your soil somethings are hard to change. Some animals need extra supplements because of this. Some veggies as well. Also be very concerned of what starting this will bring and take precautions. Example: We didn't use to have bobcats, rabbits etc but man it's like they called their friends!!!!! So that change everything even to allowing the kids out sometimes.
Shelter- Different shelter is needed for different animals. Also for different stages of life. There's no such thing as a community barn! Except in story books. If there is I ain't never seen one. Example: Just for my goats they need an area they use day to day, a breeding area, kidding area, milking area, sick or injured area. If your planning chickens you can't keep too many roosters together or too many roosters to hens ratio, they'll be bald! They could also get seriously injured! Pregnant sows need to be away from any boar. Boars will actually ram the sows stomach to try to get her to miscarriage just to mount her again. Although if the animals do work well together, and I have a few that do, you can keep them together. I have 1 goat, 2 pigs and a chicken that are friends and they do well together. In fact they'd break fences to be together.
Feed- If your fortunate enough to live where there's actually grazing available, I am not, great. But you'll want to read up on the type of feed they need. I feed as natural as I can. Once the garden thing works out they'll get a lot more of it. But different animals, and stages of their life, require different things. I was told there was a universal feed "COB" there is not! Some were missing nutrients vital for growth and productivity. Read read read.
Slaughter- If you want to do your own slaughtering, personal choice, be prepared!! Like I said nothing goes as planned all the time. But I highly recommend seeing someone do it for you first before you attempt it on your own. Reading only gets you so far, so talk to other people around your area, or they person you buy the animal from. Chances are they'll do it for you free or a small fee. Example: Our first slaughter was of some of our chickens. I read, printed pictures out and gone over it in my head several times. (See Vermont Farms link to the right. Great pictures and directions). But when it came time to do the deed, not so easy. I had the boys out helping us and it seriously was difficult. I raised these guys from chicks. But I grabbed the head just like I rehearsed in my head, pulled it down, placed the knife to his neck closed my eyes and slit. AHH. But I did it! Yea I was so proud! Then he flapped just like the book said it would. I left it for a few came back to take it down and clean it, just then he flapped again!! Oh my goodness he wasn't dead! So sad I cut this poor guy left him and he wasn't even dead yet!! I just couldn't believe it. I felt horrible. But we finished it off and that was over! Needless to say I couldn't do another one ever! But Hubby found a guy that showed us and man was he good. He didn't even need a knife! It was instantaneous, like a chicken per second! We live we learn.

These are a few things I've learned so far. Main thing is it takes money! Even when it all goes right. It's a very expensive getting set up with out-buildings, supplies, medication, tools, not to mention the animals themselves. Anywhere from $3.00/chicken to $250.00/goat. Which has probably been the cheapest. But knowing what your eating, where it came from, how it lives and knowing you did that is priceless.

No Kidding......

This morning while we were out tending to the animals Dora, our goat, caught my eye. We've had a back and forth of whether or not she was pregnant, hoping she was. But since its her first kidding she didn't get very big. We live in a pretty open area (our acres are fenced), but I also have other animals with her. According to my schedule if she was pregnant she wasn't ready for a kidding stall just yet, nor did I hear usual noises or see her act "in labor". A week ago Hubby and I were out raking their area and we noticed she lost a bit of baby bump. Her utters were bagged up and her back end looked either she had or was very near kidding. Our first goat kidding so we thought we knew what to expect. We looked everywhere for signs of a kid, but nothing. She loves to sleep next to Big Willy and Big Momma our pigs. We thought could the pigs of..... NO!!!! Couldn't have! We kept a close eye on her thinking maybe it would happen soon. Today officially I'm calling it.. No kid. Very sad. I have Hubby building "Goat Central" so this will never happen again. But it is very hard when these animals grew up with each other from babies. My poor Dora.

Chores... Hmm...

Just found this really great website. Answered my prayers, so far. I have 4 kids and we live on some what of a farm type environment. We have plenty of animals to tend to and that's just part of the kids day. No biggie. They'll feed 'em, clean out pens and the coop. No problem. Wrangle in the escapees, again no gripes, they do it. But when it comes to house chores oh please all I get are whines. So today my oldest wanted yet another animal I told him he had to earn it. So one thing leads to another and I've got my two older boys cleaning my house! I'm in momma heaven. I go to find cool ideas for a chore list and I run across this website It has everything a momma could need done. Great organization for me. Plus on top of their money they earn from me they earn handi points. They could use them for taking care of they virtual pet in "Handi Land" like buying new clothes, fixing up the house, etc. Plus other kids in Handi Land vote on each other. Earning themselves more points. OK I'm just so excited I found this place. It's also educational. They collect stamps and each stamp has a learning lesson to it. Where has this been all my life! It's a game, it's educational , plus my house is getting clean! Yeah baby! One last great thing about it is I can put in their money goal and they know when they're getting closer to it. Moms you have to check this site out. Let me know what you all think of it too!

My Daughter

I dreamt of you when I was just a little girl.
You were in the doll I brushed so gently, the doll I took everywhere.
When it came time to put away all childish things, I did.
But you were never on that shelf.
I knew I would see you again.
Waiting... and finally you came.
The much joy you brought in the first minute.
Only a mother can know.
Just as perfect as I remembered.
My daughter I brush so gently, my daughter I take everywhere.
There will come a time I must let you fly, I will.
I will give you love, patience and understanding in every step.
Just as my mother did, and you will do.


The Great Debate Is Over

Let me start by saying my baby, my last baby I will ever have, is 2 1/2 years old. Hubby has been wanting me to potty train her for a couple months. "She's ready" he says. But this is my last baby, and I just don't want to. I want to hold on for as long as I can to her. For me I feel potty training is the end of babyhood. She'd be a "big girl". So yesterday my sweet baby lady was sitting quietly next to me when she says "poop mama". Now I did think for a split second to ignore it for my own selfish reasons, but I took her to the potty, placed her little seat on it and sat her down. All these thoughts came to mind would this be it, is it big girl underwear now... MY Baaabbbyyy. So sad. Then I hear "done mama." And the look on her face when she knew what she did ahh. Made me so proud of her. How could I of wanted to stop that. So she's sporting pull-ups now. Not technically big girl underwear and not really a diaper. Perfect combo for the sad mama in me.

You ever have one on those nights......

You ever have one of those nights you, no matter how hard you try, can not stop thinking of tomorrow to do's. I'm having one now. My morning was filled with home schooling, science experiments, art projects, meals, diaper after diaper, fighting, whining, and frustrated kids. (Just morning) Followed by a day filled with cleaning, phone calls, playing ref o.k. moms you understand. So here it is early Tuesday morning, I should be well into dream land, and I just keep thinking of whats to be done tomorrow. But tomorrow is no ordinary day. Nope. No schooling, no diapers, no meals, and dare I say no playing referee!!! That's right...I'm getting a day off ladies! Hubby and I are going to the big city to ride shotgun in a race car! While going 200mph round and round in a car is not my idea of fun (more for hubby) how could I pass up a day off. Plus there will be lots of yum yum. So I'm planning our day trip in my head over and over to get it perfect. Not to waste one minute of free time. Now it's not often we get away from the kids, course most of what we do involves "family" activities on purpose, maybe once a year or so. But tomorrow my kids are on Sisters to do list, who already has 5 kids of her own. God bless her for saying yes!

Get A Handle on Yourself!

Today started out normal. Woke up with kids running a muck. Hubby still sleeping in. (He works nights.) Kitchen destroyed from little hands trying to "make" something before mom wakes up. T.V. cranked up loud Sponge bob just blaring. I slowly walk over praying for at least one cup of coffee ready. Nope. *scoff* But it's Sunday. Sundays are always easy going for us. Not much has to be done. So I leisurely make the breakfast, serve it up and head off to play with my blog. Not 30 minutes after I hear a child wailing, just screaming like he's on his last leg. I run to the front yard expecting to see bones sticking out from somewhere or blood or really anything to justify that scream. I get there and what do I see.. My 8 year old (thats right not my baby or even the toddler) crying, screaming but no broken anything, no blood no where. Crying so loud I had no idea what was going on. All I know is people from miles around could hear this scream. Then from around the corner comes my 9 year old crying, screaming yelling.(Thats right still not the little ones.) I finally calm one down long enough to explain whats going on. "He broke my fort!" "Ok uh huh and ..." I say calmly. "And? And he broke it!!!" "You broke mine first!" "Nah ah!" I was so poed. I live out in the sticks and voices carry. So I calmly brought my two screaming boys inside the house. Shut the door. Turned around and said.. "Are you kidding me! All this over a fort!! Get a handle on yourselves! In your rooms now! You don't solve things by screaming your heads off!" Away they went down the hall to their rooms and as I turned to walk away I hear "Your screaming your head off." Quietly out of the 8 year old. Ugh!

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Raising Everything Under the Sun

 Hi!! Welcome to my "About" page.  This entry is all about who I am, what we do here and why the heck I'm doing it.  Sit back, read, enjoy and have a laugh. 

  I am a 31 year mother of four. Anthony is my oldest he's 9 and very active he's my little clown. Cody is 8 and a spitting image of Big Daddy. Wyatt just turned 4 and thinks he can run with the big guys, but still a little clumsy. Caitlin is 2 and my angel, she's so tiny but her voice makes up for it. No chance of her getting lost in the mix! I was lucky enough to have married my soul mate Tarry, or Hubby as I refer to him through out my blog. He's definitely my answered prayer. The Lord sure knows His stuff!  Well, that's my family. If you don't count the many many animals we have. But I'll get into that a little later.

I'm a stay at home mom and I home school my kids. So they're my job and I must be crazy enjoy it very much. It's tough and, lets be honest, unbearable some days... but they're too young to enlist it's worth it! My reason for schooling the kids myself was not a light decision made.  Hubby and I both were public school educated.  But between all the calls we got regarding my boys and what not, we chose that the best for our kids would be for me to school them.  Not that they're problem kids/ bullies or anything, more of "clowns" outspoken and low attention....wonder where they get that from??  Later, we found the kids to be behind on levels.  That was shocking to me to find that kids could just be pushed along.  But with hair pulling and yelling extra work we're getting them there.   

We're a very traditional family.  We believe that the man should be the main bread winner and Mom is the Queen home keeper.  Not that I judge anyone for what works for them.  I've worked outside the home before.  Sometimes ends don't meet, sometimes I wanna run away from home sometimes I need a break!  But, I was brought up with Dad working and Mom home with all us kids. So naturally there was no question. I'm also blessed to not have to work since Hubby handles that.  

This past year we spent gathering animals. Two by two. We're "trying" to get back to basics. We have pigs, chickens, goats, geese, ducks, dogs and cats. I may talk about them more since farming and raising animals is new to all of us. We're complete morons city folk trying our hand at raising farm animals.... So far it's been a learning experience! From bring up babies to slaughter it's definitely been eye opening. (And a little gross) But, we're trying to get back to basics, so I've learned to sew, raise the food and grow my own veggie garden which failed twice! I'll try that again in the spring (shh don't tell the rabbits.) Learning as we go is turning out to be very expensive. So I've read up on some of our falls.

Now that's most of my life and I'm glad to meet ya! Ya'll come back now ya hear!